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Council Tax and Benefits Privacy Notice

Privacy Notice for Council Tax, Council Tax support, Housing Benefits, Discretionary Housing Payments and Exceptional Hardship Fund payments.

This privacy notice sets out how Ashford Borough Council (ABC) as the local administering authority may collect, use and share your personal information.

ABC and its Data Protection Officer can be contacted at: The Data Protection Officer, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, TN23 1PL or you can email FOI@ashford.gov.uk.

The processing of personal data is governed, in the UK, by the General Data Protection Regulation (the "GDPR") 2016 and any national implementing laws (Data Protection Act 18), regulations and secondary legislation, as amended or updated from time to time, and the regional supervisory authority is the Information Commissioner's Office.

We are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office with registration number Z8344724.

Processing activities

As the administering authority for council tax, council tax support, housing benefits, discretionary housing payments and exceptional hardship fund payments, in order to meet our statutory obligations and depending upon the service being provided, it may be necessary to process your personal information for the following purposes:

  • administration
  • calculation of entitlements
  • billing
  • payment(s)
  • notifications
  • appeals
  • recovery of overpayments
  • award of benefits or support
  • exemptions
  • data matching
  • protection of the public fund/fraud investigations

What personal information we collect

We may collect and hold the following personal information about you in order to fulfil our function:

  • full names
  • address(es) previous, current and forwarding
  • date of birth
  • telephone number
  • email address
  • move in and out dates
  • council tax number
  • council tax band
  • health information
  • employer details
  • financial details
  • power of attorney details
  • additional occupants details
  • liability orders
  • National Insurance number

Lawful bases for processing

  • Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation under; the Local Government Financial Act 1992, Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) regulation 1992, Social Security Administration Act 1992, Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007, Digital Economy Act 2017, Local Government Finance Act 2012, Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2001, Housing Benefits Regulation 2006, Council Tax Reduction Scheme Regulation 2012 and any other relevant legislation
  • Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller

How we get your information and data sharing

We predominantly collect information from you when you fill in any forms, set up an account, or when you contact us in writing, speak to us on the phone, by email, or communicate with us in any other way. In addition, some of the information we hold about you may come from third party sources such as the Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and other third party partners and credit reference agencies. 

We may share your information with partner organisations for the purposes of improving services, keeping records up-to-date, statistical research and for the protection of the public fund. These organisations include:

  • other council departments
  • other local authorities
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • Cabinet Office as part of the National Fraud Initiative
  • National Audit Office
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Valuation Office Agency
  • the Police
  • health and social care organisations
  • social housing providers
  • credit reference agencies (Trans Union, formerly Callcredit)
  • enforcement agents

The Kent Intelligence Network

The Kent Intelligence Network (KIN) is a collaboration arrangement between Kent local authorities including Kent County Council, Medway Council, Kent and Medway Town Fire Authority, and the Kent district/borough and city councils.

To prevent and detect fraud and error across a range of locally administered services the KIN runs a data matching programme mirroring the National Fraud Initiative but run on a quarterly basis and utilising geographically local data sets.

View the Kent Intelligence Network privacy notice.

Kent County Council and Districts Financial Exclusion and Homelessness project with Xantura

We believe the data we and other partner local authorities hold, when used appropriately, is a key tool in identifying those most at risk of presenting in the near future as homeless or in financial crisis.

To this end we are collaborating with Kent County Council (KCC) and Xantura to support us, so that our limited resources are focused on appropriate preventative initiatives at points of the debt management and housing pathways that are most effective.

Xantura’s OneView solution, a data sharing platform, facilitating controlled, auditable sharing between our council services and that of KCC’s, creates a ‘single-view’ of a household from data sources held across the two authorities, aiding with the identification of those households at the highest risk of homelessness or presenting with other financial hardships in the future.

The data sets held within our Housing and Revenues and Benefits services, as collected during the normal course of the business will, for the exclusive purpose of this exercise, be shared with (KCC) through the Xantura platform.

Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council will be Joint Data Controllers and Xantura will be the Data Processor. Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller, in this case to aid with our obligations spelt out within the Homelessness Reduction Act and Digital Economy Act.

Further information is available from Kent County Council's Xantura privacy notice.

Retention period

We will only keep your information for as long as necessary dictated by the need of the information to complete a service or legal obligation.

In normal circumstances and in accordance with financial regulations the council is working towards retaining personal information only for a period of six year plus current, from the point where liability has ended, any recovery and enforcement action has been completed and the period required by us for legal and audit purposes has expired.

Council Tax began on 1 April 1993 and in some instances the amount of Council Tax that is payable can be reduced from this date. Consequently, in order that we are able to refund any money that is due, we may keep the necessary records from this date.

How we protect your data

The data you provide is protected by rigorous measures and procedures to make sure it can't be seen, or accessed by, or disclosed to anyone who shouldn't be allowed to see it. We provide training to staff who handle personal data and treat it as a disciplinary matter if they misuse or do not look after your personal data properly.

Your rights

Unless subject to an exemption under data protection legislation, you have the following rights:

  • the right to access;
  • the right to rectification;
  • the right to erasure;
  • the right to restrict processing;
  • the right to object to processing;
  • the right to data portability;
  • the right to complain to a supervisory authority;
  • the right to withdraw consent

For further information about your individual rights, including how to contact Ashford Borough Council's Data Protection Officer, please see our data protection pages.

Right to Complain

We set ourselves high standards when it comes to protecting your personal data. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive from you about our use of your personal data very seriously and request that you bring any issues to our attention.

Where you are communicating with us for the purpose of making a complaint, we will only use your personal data to handle, investigate and respond to the complaint and to check on the level of service we provide.

If, having exhausted the complaint process, you are not content that your request or review has been dealt with correctly, you can appeal to the ICO to investigate the matter further by writing to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Changes to our Data Protection Policy

We may update this policy from time to time by republishing a new version on our website.

You should check this page occasionally to ensure you are happy with any changes to this policy.